Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Contracts? We Don’t Honor No Stinkin Contracts!

Back in the Stone Age, when I was a kid, I was told quite explicitly that lying was bad.  This was further reinforced by my Sunday School teacher and my Girl Scout leader.  It was made clear that if you did something wrong, you should still tell the truth, even if that truth had consequences.  In the end, they said, you will be a better person for it.

Imagine my surprise as an adult when I first heard the phrase “Sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.”  I’ve never liked that philosophy; I’ve just always felt it was better to be up front, to be honest about your intentions.

A wee bit later in life I learned: there is truth, there are lies and then there are legal binding contracts and frequently these things never do cross paths and more often than not, the legal binding contract trumps everything else.

The only way I know how to get out of a contract is to prove you were mentally incapable or incompetent when you signed it.

Which brings me to my subject.

Charter Communications signed a legal binding contract with the Town of Northbridge, Massachusetts in the spring of 2013.  The contract detailed how Charter would conduct its business in the Town, to include the provision of Public, Educational and Government (PEG) access television channels, support for those channels and their placement on the cable system.

The contract clearly (and I mean that in the most Linguaphile interpretation of the word “clearly”), states the following:

“The Licensee shall continue to make available to the Town and/or the Access Designee three (3) full-time Downstream Channels for PEG Access purposes on channels 11, 12, and 13.”

Yet, some eighteen months later, Charter has slammed those Northbridge PEG channels to 191, 192 and 194.  To add further insult, the Charter government relations person said “I personally messed up in terms of the license we had with Northbridge.”  And went on to let the good Selectmen of Northbridge know that Charter would not be moving the PEG channels back to their contractually binding position any time soon, meaning never.

We can speculate, fairy accurately, that when Charter signed that contract in 2013 it was already in the midst of making its digital transition plan, and it knew that they would slam the PEG channels to the higher placement, but they signed the contract anyway.  I am not sure if this was just lying or that asking for forgiveness later deal.  But I am pretty dog-gone positive the contract trumps whatever devious intentions or model business plan Charter may have had.

One could venture that should the contract come under some kind of judicial review, Charter’s only hope is to plead mental defect or insanity. I, myself, would be perfectly willing to testify to the findings of such a plea.

From a purely analytical point of view, what could explain Charter’s decision in Missouri a few years ago to pull free cable drops to police departments and fire stations?  Sure, the statewide franchising law didn’t require these drops the way the local franchises had done previously, but why treat first responders with such disdain, knowing the company would make itself look churlish and it would garner bad publicity?

Mental defect?  Insanity perhaps?

Why on earth would a company slam PEG channels in Missouri and Wisconsin to the 900’s?  Why would they slam community channels full of church services and school board meetings and the Rotary Club to what I am told is the “Porn Neighborhood”?  (I wouldn’t know, I don’t “do” porn).

Mental defect?  Insanity perhaps?

And then, why would a company march into a perfectly good school district in Montana and tell them they had to rent cable boxes at $6.99 a month for every television set in the district if they wanted to get cable?  A rate, mind you, that would cost the school district $60k to $80k per year.  This behavior is further proof of something going on when Charter knows all it had to do was provide DTA’s to the school district at very little cost and that would have solved the problem. 

Mental defect?  Insanity?  Out of control hormones?  Bad Sushi?

The phenomenon that is Charter Communications never does cease to amaze me, and not long ago I could shake my head and laugh it off, but with Charter poised to be the second largest cable operator in the country, it’s no longer a laughing matter.

Little old Northbridge, Massachusetts is not the only community this is happening in, add to them Worcester, Uxbridge and Douglas, to name a few. 

Meanwhile, it would be very hard to claim a mental hiccup whilst the ink was drying on the legal binding contract given in Northbridge the PEG channel positions are now occupied by QVC, Telemundo and the NFL Network.  Those lower channel numbers, which the Charter representative allowed really are not very important, seem to be occupied by at least two pretty important revenue generating programmers. 

And that, at the end of the day, is the point.  For the bottom line, cable operators will do what they have to do, contracts be damned.  It does remain disturbing that after they’ve done it, they’re not even willing to ask for forgiveness.

To see the Northbridge Selectmen's hearing on the issue go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZdhea-vigI&feature=youtu.be

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Lipstick on a Pig

I was raised by a mother who grew up in the 1920’s and 1930’s on a cotton farm in Delano, California.  She was a transplanted Texan who used many country colloquialisms and passed the same onto me.  One of my favorites was “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.”  Her favored vernacular gave me a fond appreciation for language and how language can be used to make something sound like something it’s not.

Last week, I received a talking points sheet on “Local Choice.”  Everybody likes “choice” right?  I mean we’re red-blooded Americans after all.  The document deals with the broadcast retransmission battle going on in Congress in the course of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act or STELA.  The premise of Local Choice is to put power into the hands of the cable subscriber by “allowing” them to choose whether or not to pay for broadcast stations.   And it poses a direct payment system by which broadcasters charge the subscriber a set rate, cable collects the fee and gives it back to the broadcasters. 

The fact sheet talks about how there will be no more hidden retransmission costs on their subscribers bills and offers them more opportunity to control the cost of their cable bill.  It also guarantees that religious stations, PBS stations and PEG access station programming will be carried like they are today.

Pig with lipstick still equals pig, as my mama would say.  And frankly, it’s one helluva dangerous pig.

First, this plan has cable operators stumbling straight into the a-la-carte battle, one they will surely lose if they adopt this model.  We cable subscribers are paying $7.50 or more per month to get ESPN.  And frankly, I don’t like having to pay for MSNBC, the Golf Channel, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney, MTV, Style, ABC Family, E! Entertainment, and the Learning Channel (which hasn’t taught anybody anything in quite some time).  So just eliminating those from my lineup would save me about $11.50 a month or $138.00 per year.  Actually it’s probably more, my calculations are based on a Time Warner programming cost filing that’s over a year old.

Second, it’s cable’s attempt to squeeze out the broadcasters, something us PEG folks know quite a bit about.  We are the canary in the coal mine when it comes to dealing with cable operators.  We know from our experience they never, ever do anything that doesn’t benefit them and they are certainly willing to tell localism to go take a hike, evidenced by what they have done to PEG access television in twenty-two states. 

Which cracks me up all the more reading the fact sheet, they say this plan will “reinvigorate key national broadcasting values like localism and serving the public interest.”  The only localism cable operators have ever had were what we provided them on the PEG channels and even then, they do everything they can to wipe us out.  And as for public interest?  Please pig, just because you thought you’d look good with Cover Girl #195, doesn’t take away the fact that you are a pig.

Third, and most important to PEG, having a Basic tier that is reduced to PEG, PBS and Home Shopping, ghettoizes us yet again.  It’s bad enough Charter slams our channels to 980 and BrightHouse slams us into the 600’s, taking away our proximity to the local broadcast channels puts us smack into the desert. 

I do appreciate that PEG receives a nod in the document but giving us a nod and coming out with a robust endorsement are two different things.  I have spent four years working on the Community Access Preservation Act which will preserve and protect PEG access television, I could use a bit more love, like right now

My only hope is that somehow this plan gets the light of day it deserves, in the mainstream media.  It is my belief that if I surveyed 100,000 people tomorrow they would tell me, to a person, that they hate cable.  And they would further tell me how much they love their local broadcasters, many even going so far as to name anchors or show segments.  So there’s a part of me that hopes this plan gets some head wind so we can have a robust national discussion on cable a-la-carte.

That would be a pig I wouldn’t mind kissin.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Roll Me Over...

The country is absolutely abuzz with the news of the Comcast-Time Warner merger, the Charter acquisitions and the AT&T merger with DirectTV.  My doctor even asked me about it today. He spent a few moments in the midst of treating my Rosacea, opining about where it all is going.  “Terrestrial” he said, “Terrestrial.”  I admit I was duly impressed with his grasp of telecom, given he’s only a Dermatologist after all.

He even brought up the “fast lane” stuff.  I guess the guy reads. 

David Cohen, Comcast’s Real Repairman, according to the New York Times, was cited in various publications, that Comcast had plans to roll out usage caps.  And they’ve been rolling them out in test markets already, just to see if they actually work. The idea is that in about five years, Comcast will have a usage-based billing model rolled out across it footprint, according to Cohen.

So what we’re looking at is a net-neutrality issue, where content providers will have to pay-to-play and an end user issue, where customers will have to pay-to-get.  Gotta hand it to ‘em, if there’s even one red dime left on the floor the Comcast vacuum will figure out a way to suck it up, or in this instance, make you suck it up.

Now, I don’t mind a man, or even a group of men, being ambitious and making all the dough they can, but it leaves me scratching my head about the endless possibilities for the rest of us. 

The scenario that immediately comes to most peoples’ minds is all those poor gamers and video consumers out there, what the hell are they supposed to do?  I mean, you’re gonna force Pete the Plumber to pay extra just to play Scarlet Blade?  It is Mankind’s last hope for survival that lies in the women they’ve genetically engineered.  Or charge Gus the graduate student even more to watch a House of Cards marathon online? 

At the end of the day, I am not in a tizzy about Pete or Gus, but I am in a tizzy about other applications, like distance learning, telemedicine, event and conference communications, management training, and business start-up and the entrepreneurs, patients, customers and consumers who are the end users of these applications.  And, frankly, who knows what new applications will exist in the next five years and how rich the content will become?

My friend, Dirk Koning, talked about bandwidth as water, and that was ten years ago.  He said that bandwidth would become a necessity in our lives.  But as a matter of public policy, our nation has left our growing need for bandwidth at the mercy of the marketplace and the mercy of mega corporations, corporations that are becoming Godzilla-sized Mega.  And our nation has altogether abandoned the notion of robust rural bandwidth because the Godzillas have no interest in build out and we have no will for creating infrastructure.

The data caps story didn’t take long to kick up a general public stink, according to a report in the Philadelphia Magazine, Cohen walked it back a few days later:

“To be clear, we have no plans to announce a new data usage policy. In 2012, we suspended our 250 GB data cap in order to conduct a few pilot programs that were more customer friendly than a static cap. Since then, we’ve had no data caps for any of our customers anywhere in the country. We have been trialing a few flexible data consumption plans, including a plan that enables customers who wanted to use more data be given the option to pay more to do so, and a plan for those who use less data the option to save some money. We decided to implement these trials to learn what our customers’ reaction is to what we think are reasonable data consumption plans. We certainly have no interest in adopting any plans that our customers find unreasonable or disruptive to their Internet experience.

Whew!  Now I feel relieved!  Because as we all know this is pretty heavily regulated stuff and Comcast can’t jaunt about town doing anything that suits their fancy!  And as we all further know, the Godzillas of this world have only your internet experience in mind and they’d never want to be unreasonable or disruptive.

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Monday, February 08, 2010

When the Night Meets the Morning Sun

Last Thursday, Comcast and NBCU marched up to Capitol Hill to testify before the House Commerce Subcommittee on Communications. At times it was a raucous exchange with Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker making promises about what they will deliver once the two giant corporations are joined in holy merger matrimony.

The spectacle reminded me of the Carol King song “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” Let’s pause on that song for a moment. It was meant to be a cautionary tale to us teenage girls of the 1970’s. Of course he’s staring in your eyes as if you are the most important woman on the face of the planet and he is saying all kinds of wonderful things to you, promising his undying love in an effort to soften your resolve not to “give in.” And you want so badly to believe him, but what’s going to happen when the night meets the morning sun?

Speaking strictly from the cable side, because that’s the side I pay attention to, there will be heartbreak.

In the last five years I’ve been in business and looking at cable at the community level, I can’t begin to tell you how many contracts the cable industry just ignores. Now most of us believe a legal contract is binding. We have contracts in our lives for a variety of things and most of us adhere to the terms of those contracts. Not cable. I have repeatedly seen blatant breaches of contract in several cities and towns and yet, even when called on those breaches, the cable operators don’t flinch, don’t promise to come into compliance and don’t even give a half-hearted apologetic “I’m sorry, we weren’t aware we were in breach.”

Why? Because they know that hardly anybody is going to enforce the contract.

They know that in the case of smaller towns there is a reluctance to hire an attorney to go after them. Makes sense. Lawyers don’t come cheap and even if they can recuperate their legal fees if they win, what if they lose? How do you justify to your constituents that you spent several hundred thousand dollars on a case that went nowhere? This holds true even with large communities, because as I have seen, the cable operators are perfectly willing to litigate you into the grave.

Another thing they know is that regulatory agencies have a tendency to sit on their hands and frequently won’t enforce their own state laws. I have sat in a room with a regulatory agency and cited the very clear language of the law regarding the number of PEG channels required in every franchise agreement and instead of the regulators turning to the cable operator and saying “Yep, that’s what it says alright,” they turn to me and ask me to negotiate downward.

Over three years ago, the Indiana legislature passed a state law that included the provision for local communities to petition the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission (IURC) for more PEG channels and for funding. Since that time no petitions have been filed. Why? Because the IURC has yet to create the petition process.

But we have as part of the dance, in the Comcast/NBCU merger courtship, a heartfelt promise to continue their commitment to PEG. Promises that, even if they were included in a legal contract, will be ignored when the night meets the morning sun because that’s what they do.

Now, more than ever, we need the Community Access Preservation Act (H.R. 3745, the CAP Act). And now more than ever we need a strong PEG presence at the FCC. For that reason, I and several of my colleagues have formed a new organization, American Community Television or ACT. We have formed it as a 501 (c) (4) so that we will face no limits on our lobbying activities. And that is our only interest, lobbying and helping others lobby. As our mission statement says:

American Community Television is a non-profit, 501 (c) 4 organization dedicated to the preservation of public, educational and government access television channels through the promotion and advocacy of positive federal legislation. ACT works, through communication with federal officials, for the passage and protection of federal statutes which establish and enhance the ability of local communities to use electronic media for the benefit of their citizens via public, educational and government access (PEG) television channels and to insure the accessibility for all citizens regardless of their socio-economic status.

We think it’s pretty simple, have a presence on Capitol Hill, at the FCC and before any legislative or regulatory body that will pass, or try to pass, legislation or regulations that affect PEG.

As we were discussing the formation of ACT, I was continually reminded of how the State Department used to bring people from various countries through the Alliance for Community Media office so I could tell them about PEG. To a person, these visitors were always amazed that we had this thing called Public, Educational and Government (PEG) access television. One man, from Thailand, said to me “If we were able to get these channels the government would take them away.” I will never forget how he said that and I will never forget the look on his face as he said it.

Sadly, since that time, we’ve had twenty state legislatures either take away these channels or drastically weaken their ability to survive. Now we need the Congress to make these channels whole.

To learn more about our effort and to join us, go to American Community Television

I look forward to having your company in the fight.

Bunnie Riedel, Executive Director
American Community Television (ACT)

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fiber Recommended

So I’m watching BBC last night and here’s this story on a fella on some rural farm in Japan and he is bragging about his 50 Mbps broadband speed and how he has more time for fishing because he no longer has to commute and can service all his clients from home and it sent me right into a self-righteous diatribe about how crappy broadband service is here in the US. Then to pour lemon juice into the wound comes another story about some people in Kenya who are laying fiber to all these villages and this chick sitting in Central Park telling us the WiFi is free but nobody in New York gets 50 Mbps unless they are willing to pay around $150 a month for it.

I thought my head was going to explode.

And it was only last week that I listened to a presentation by Terry Huval of the Lafayette Utilities System on how Lafayette took things into their own hands and built their fiber ring because they knew if they waited for Cox or any other provider to do it right they might as well wait for pigs to fly.

So I can now get 1 Mbps upstream and 6 Mbps downstream for $45.95 a month from my local provider, who shall remain nameless but it starts with a C and ends with a T. And my fellow travelers in Lafayette get 10 Mbps up and down for $28.95 a month; 30 Mbps up and down for $44.95 a month; and 50 Mbps up and down for $57.95 a month. See Huval’s presentation here:

I hate those people in Lafayette.

They do have a history of being cranky. Seems in 1896 they decided to build their own electric and water system because they knew there was no way the utility providers would provide water and power any time too soon to what was an outback Cajun village. And they had to fight in the 1940’s to keep the big utility companies from taking over their system. Imagine the hubris of those people in Lafayette! It was déjà vu when they proposed to build their own fiber, and the public overwhelmingly approved the initiative, in 2005. The incumbent cable company that starts with a C and ends with an X, did everything to stop them, including taking a case all the way to the Louisiana Supreme Court. But Lafayette prevailed.

Laissez les Bon Temps Roulette!

Meanwhile the Federal Communications Commission just released a report called “Report on a Rural Broadband Strategy,” an excellent document that examines the issues of rural broadband, raises critical questions and provides potential models for how broadband can be deployed to rural and underserved America. However, in the section regarding government sponsorship or ownership was this:

“Although many have expressed concerns regarding the provision of government-sponsored or government-owned broadband services, raising questions about the appropriate role of government as a broadband service provider, the potential for market distortion, and the consequences of unfair competition…”

I would love to know who those “many” were. I would bet many of those many belong to an organization that starts with an N and ends with an A. The report goes on to say that 19 states have passed legislation dealing with municipal ownership of broadband that limit it or ban it all together. Meanwhile the Australian government has taken it on themselves to upgrade its infrastructure to deliver 100 Mbps to 90% of the homes and offices in the country. My guess is their telecom and cable lobby isn’t as efficient as it should be, maybe some of the boys on “K” Street could give them lessons.

The FCC report recommends that the state members of the Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Services “work to develop an inventory of resources, “best practices,” and success stories to inspire and motivate others to undertake the difficult but ultimately rewarding task of bringing broadband to rural communities across this nation.”

And I’d like to recommend the first place they start is by putting in a call to Terry Huval in Lafayette. He plays a mean fiddle by the way.

A good read on all the antics that went on (and still do) surrounding this project is the Lafayette Pro-Fiber Blog at http://www.lafayetteprofiber.com/

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The "Look"

When my kids were little they were quite adept at reading my facial expressions. Especially that expression that communicated to them that I was not pleased. Today they call it the “look” as in “remember when mom would give you the look?” I believe that moms are uniquely endowed with the “look.” The “look” meant “whatever it is you are doing right now, stop it immediately because I do not approve.” It was unnecessary to accompany the “look” with any verbal communication, the “look” spoke for itself. And it was powerful enough to make them immediately stop in their tracks and slink timidly away from the offending activity.

Since I believe myself to be a master of the “look” I feel it is my duty to give the “look” to some cable and telecommunications companies.

The first “look” goes to Time Warner Cable for attempting to sock it to their customers by rolling out a metered broadband access plan. Particularly aimed at people who watch and download online videos, Time Warner couched their plan as more equitable. According to Newsfactor.com, the company said that “they wanted to give lower rates to customers who use the Net least and higher rates to those who use it most.” Isn’t that just like Time Warner? Always looking out for the little guy.

“We don’t want to spread our infrastructure and service costs to all users, we’re nice that way!”

Communities began complaining and firing off letters to TW, but it was after Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Eric Massa (both of New York) became involved that Time Warner backed off. There was some mumbling about cherishing their relationship with Schumer and some further mumbling about how they were just misunderstood, that’s all.

CEO Glenn Britt said in a press statement that it was “clear from the public response over the last two weeks that there is a great deal of misunderstanding about our plans to roll out additional tests on consumption based billing."

Mr. Britt, I have a sneaking suspicion that the general public understood your plans quite well and so did I, which is why you are getting the “look.”

My next “look” goes State Senator David Hoyle of North Carolina, a DemoRat and Chairman of the Board of the Citizens South Bank Corporation and a Director at a waste management company in Louisiana. Hoyle is the proud sponsor of a bill in North Carolina that would prevent local governments from building municipal broadband and prevent them from taking any broadband stimulus money.

The DailyTech.com reports that the legislation’s impetus may have come from the City of Wilson’s wildly successful muni-run cable service, Greenlight, Inc..

“…the city offers an expanded basic cable (81 channels), 10 Mbps (download and upload), and a digital phone plan with unlimited long distance to the U.S. and Canada, all for $99.95. A comparable plan from Time Warner Inc., with six fewer channels (no Cartoon Network, Disney, The Science Channel, ESPNU, ESPN News, or ESPN Classic) and lower upload speeds costs $137.95, for an introductory rate, which lasts a few months and then will likely be ratcheted up.”

According to DailyTech this was all too much for Time Warner and Embarq so they schmoozed the North Carolina legislature and believe it or not, found a simpatico in Hoyle (the real estate developer, banker and whatever it is you call people who run “waste management” in the South, I know what we call them in the Northeast).

Hoyle! Are you feeling me pal? Yeah, I’m looking at you.

The final “look” (for today) is for anybody and everybody involved in the digital television transition. Nobody seems to have any clear data on the transition’s effect on rural communities, particularly those with terrain. There has been very little to no education that the converter box is not the only piece of equipment people in those communities will need, an antenna, and not just rabbit ears but the big honking kind my daddy used to have up on the roof, is also needed. According to the Daily Yonder, the National Telecommunications and Information Agency has funded digital assistance centers, with most of them being in metropolitan areas with large media markets. The Denver Post reports that as many as two out of five television translators are not going to work.

But, my favorite is this from the Daily Yonder:

“…the FCC discovered in late December that almost 11% of local TV stations across the country are using the digital conversion as an opportunity to change their coverage areas. Stations are focusing their broadcast signals on higher income suburbs, dropping coverage of poorer and more distant rural communities.”

There will be more looks in the future I am sure, I never tire of pointing out rotten behavior. But as of this minute I am worn out from expecting better from people and corporations. My one burning question is: who raised these people?

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Love is a Many Splendored Thing

Did you know it’s great to be in love? Love releases all kinds of chemicals in your brain, among them adrenaline, dopamine, fenylethylamine, endorphin and oxytocin. Adrenaline causes your pupils to get bigger, your heart to go up, your breathing get faster and reduces hunger. Dopamine acts like cocaine and it’s addictive. Fenylethylamine acts like ecstasy and speed. Endorphin has the effect of heroine and opium. Oxytocin makes you feel connected, takes away fear and makes you feel confident. So when you’re in love you’re really just totally whacked out on drugs, that’s what makes it so good. And as we all know, love is way more intense in the Spring.

According to a recent article in Broadcasting and Cable (http://tiny.cc/TE8MC), Rick Boucher (D-VA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, was feeling the love at the Cable Show 2009. And he was putting out plenty of love in return. The article says he “had a pledge and several requests for the cable industry, which he delivered wrapped in praise for National Cable & Telecommunications Association CEO Kyle McSlarrow and for cable’s commitment to broadband, interactive services and a digital-TV education campaign.”

Can you feel it?

Regarding the broadband stimulus money, Boucher urged the cable boys to aggressively apply for the funds. He even said “please.” And who says cable-cos don’t make passes at Congressmen who wear glasses?

Boucher went on to promise that conditions “imposed relating to nondiscrimination and open access should not be onerous to the extent that they discourage applicants from applying.” Of course, he is a Democrat who thoroughly understands that abstinence only doesn’t work.

Meanwhile, just as the petting party is heating up, Verizon, Comcast, at&t (among others) are lobbying state legislatures to prohibit municipal broadband. At the front of the lobbying is Connected Nation, which counts Verizon, Comcast, at&t and the National Cable Telecommunications Association among its advisors, according to http://www.BNet.com.
Karl Bode of http://www.DSLReports.com is quoted as saying “[Connect America] takes state taxpayer funds under the pretense of effectively mapping state broadband services, but then acts by and large as an extension of the incumbents — obscuring data they don’t want public, while lobbying state lawmakers on carriers’ behalf.”

Mmmm…where have we seen that before? Can you say statewide cable franchising? $50 to the first person who connects Dick Armey with Connected Nation! No really, I will send you $50.

This is not the first, nor will it be the last time, a Democrat swooned over the cable industry’s advances. In fact their swooning is getting a bit tedious, it’s like watching teenagers making out at the mall, too much public show of affection kiddies, maybe you should get a room. Do these people have no shame or is this just the logical conclusion of a society that has lost its moral compass? What next? Former representatives working for the industry? Industry hacks working for Congress? Next thing you know representatives will work for the industry while actively serving in Congress. Oh, the humanity!

Another link on BNet.com was to a story about how Cameron Kerry has been nominated by President Obama to be general counsel of the Commerce Department. “Kerry, younger brother of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), has represented the cable industry in federal and state court, as well as before the FCC on issues ranging from rate regulation and franchising to FCC license and rulemaking issues. Kerry has represented the cable industry as an attorney with Mintz Levin in Boston and Washington.”

Geesh, and everybody is still upset at former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer for hiring a hooker. Aren’t we all just a nation of hypocrites?

Love is not to be taken lightly. Ships have launched for love. Suicides have been committed. Eyes have been gouged out. Representative Boucher is only answering the call of the siren and who can blame him for wanting to feel doped up?

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